Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child years ago by a long-time member of his household domestic staff, who was married at the time.
He acknowledged the episode to his wife of 25 years, Maria Shriver, after he left the governorship in January. Shriver moved out of their Brentwood home in January with the couple’s four children — Katherine, 21, Christina, 19, Patrick, 17, and Christopher, 13.
Schwarzenegger, 63, confirmed his paternity in a statement to the Los Angeles Times, which reported the story on Tuesday. He submitted the statement in response to questions posed by the newspaper. There were separate reports that Schwarzenegger planned to appear May 25 on an Opra Winfrey show for a tell-all.
The unidentified staff member worked for the family for two decades and has since retired. She left the family’s employ in January and received a severance payment. She told the Times that her parting from the family was amiable.
Schwarzenegger told the Times there were “no excuses” for his conduct.
“After leaving the governor’s office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago,” Schwarzenegger said in the statement issued to The Times. “I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused,” he said. “I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry. “
In a statement available Tuesday, Shriver, 55, said, “This is a painful and heartbreaking time. As a mother, my concern is for the children. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal. I will have no further comment.”
The couple earlier issued a joint statement that they were separating, but gave few details. Their separation was first reported in the Times.
The combination of bodybuilder-film star Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria, a member of the Kennedy family and a TV news reporter, was politically potent in the Capitol, which Schwarzenegger took by storm in 2003 following the recall of former Gov. Gray Davis.
He also is an international celebrity, and reports that he fathered a child out of wedlock drew attention in Europe and Asia, where he remains highly popular.
The Times did not identify the woman with whom Schwarzenegger fathered the child nor the name of the child. The newspaper said “she voluntarily left her position with the couple earlier this year after reaching a longstanding goal of working for them for two decades.”
“I wanted to achieve my 20 years, then I asked to retire,” she said, adding she received the severance and “left on good terms with them.”
Schwarzenegger has been dogged for years by allegations of boorish behavior and womanizing, but they got little traction in Hollywood. During the 2003 gubernatorial recall campaign, more allegations arose, and among his staunchest defenders was Shriver, who described him as an “A-plus human being.”
Ed’s Note: Updates with Shriver comment, detail.